I’m busy. Are you busy? Who isn’t busy?! Seriously. I hate the word busy. To me, it seems like it’s our flippant remark to mask what is really going on at the core of our little worlds, inside each of our families and under the very roof we call home. The response “I’m busy” is somewhat disingenuous if you really think about it.
We all go through periods in our lives where we are time crunched, rushed and stressed. Preparing the night before, cooking ahead on the weekend and having a consistent routine are all tried and true methods of maximizing your time and reducing the frenzy. But I’m sorry; this is just too perfect and neat for my world right now. They are all great ideas in theory, and I do my best to practice these tips, but I often fall short. Nealy recently wrote some time-saving tips for moms and I loved her ideas – especially the white toothpaste and the paper plate option. While I don’t know if these suggestions will do the same in terms of giving you back some precious minutes, I’m confident that this list goes beyond the traditional, tried and true options that you have probably heard about in the past. No, I will not push you to make more dinners in your crockpot.
1. Make some new friends. I know, right?! Who has time for friends, but seriously hear me out. Get to know your neighbors beyond name. Seek out the other moms and families of those that frequent the same school, activities, sports, etc. as your children. Why? Because these people have become my lifeline and are providing a valuable social outlet when hanging in the bleachers at the basketball game, or lacing up skates in the locker room. These people have saved me with carpooling to birthday parties and occasionally assisting with before or after school care. Yes, I am officially friends with my kids’ friends’ parents. Wow, that makes me feel old, but honestly, think back to when you were newly dating or married. Remember what it was like to find a set of friends that were great for both you and your partner? Now think about what that would be like if you found people that could be friends with your entire family. Life changing, people.
2. Just say no. A simple slogan, but so absolutely difficult to put into practice for many of us. For me, it’s difficult to say no because I feel like, how dare I say that “we are busy” as my excuse. Everyone is busy, so why am I different? But if you listen to your heart, you truly will know when you must say no. Even if you could really handle the task, should you? Or would it really be better to just say no? For the good of your sanity, for the sake of your family, you will not add one more thing to your plate. So instead of saying, “no, I can’t we are too busy” I tend to phrase it like this: based on the day/week/month, Chris and I have decided that we need to focus our spare time spending some quality time as a family. I hope you understand, and I hope that you keep reaching out to me because this is a priority to me as well.
3. Write it out. Anything that falls outside of our typical routine goes in writing. And when I say “routine” I mean that in the loosest term possible. If you work outside of the home, consolidate your work and personal calendar. My husband gets a meeting notice marked “free” sent to his work email alerting him to days where he is in charge of drop off or other responsibilities outside of the norm. We also have a few chalkboards throughout the house where I write down the sight word of the week, or share any special schedules. I take a picture with my phone of the weekly school communication and the school lunch menu so that information is quickly available when needed. A recurring meeting notice is set on my calendar to alert me each Thursday is library day and to bring back our books to school. It might be simple advice, but keeping things straight is challenging at times. Your mindset is your best weapon for attacking the busy in your life, and knowing what to expect upfront is a powerful predictor of where your head will be at that day.
4. Identify the time sucks and hit the easy button when you can. For me, it is grocery shopping and the errand running. Suzanne shared a popular post on Target’s subscription opportunity, but did you also realize that Target provides in store pick options too? They are wicked fast with processing orders and it is my go-to method for picking up last minute gifts for birthday parties, replacing empty toiletries and so much more. We also use Coborns Delivers on a regular basis, as there is nothing better than coming home from a long day with groceries ready to unload on your front porch. We have cut down on grocery waste and are able to better stick to the list and meal plan for the week. What’s really lovely about this service is that once you place an order, you will have your master list saved that you can build future orders from. And there is also an app that is super simple. I can literally place a grocery order in the time that it takes for my husband to drive us somewhere in 15 minutes. Delivery can often be next day or in certain cases same day.
So mamas, I encourage you to embrace the busy in your lives. Feel confident in knowing that everything and every situation is temporary. Work to change your mindset to a can-do attitude by preparing as much as reasonably possible upfront and realize that there is no magic bullet or solution for maximizing your time and reducing the frenzy.